Having been preparing for a match towards the end of the transfer window, the Frenchman was sure a call from the Spanish giants was a wind up.
Julien Faubert has revealed that he didn’t think Real Madrid were interested in signing him when a representative first approached him, telling the club’s agent that he didn’t have time for his”bullsh*t” as he had a significant game to prepare for with West Ham.
Faubert, a fan favorite at the Hammers’ former Boleyn Ground home due to his ability to play at multiple positions, spent five years in London, with a brief loan spell in Madrid sandwiched in between in the second half of the 2008-09 season.
The man affectionately known as’The Express Train’ was actually Los Blancos’ second choice after former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia, but Faubert was not fazed by that fact and was all too pleased to relocate after some initial disbelief.
“We’re on the team bus making our way to Upton Park to play Fulham,” the 36-year-old remembered in an interview with The Athletic. “I got a call from this French guy at Real Madrid and he explained to me, ‘Hi, I work for Real Madrid and we must speak with you.’
“So I called my supervisor and he said to me we have to converse to Real Madrid because they are in a hotel at Heathrow. It was the last day of the transfer window and we went there and started to negotiate.
“I had many feelings but I was happy, it is Real Madrid, you understand? When I realised it wasn’t fake I had been praying for the negotiations to go well. They actually wanted Antonio Valencia but he signed for Manchester United [at the end of that season], so I was the second choice.
“When the deal was completed I came back to collect some of my stuff at West Ham and I and some of the guys started laughing. They were like, ‘Julien, do you realise where you’re? It’s bloody Real Madrid.’
“I recall Mark Noble kept ignoring me and I was like,’Mark, what is the problem?’ He said,’Julien I can’t speak to you, you are a Real Madrid player. You are higher than me’ So there was a lot of banter.”
In the long run, Faubert wasn’t afforded much playing time at the Santiago Bernabeu, and his spell in the Spanish capital was further marred by hitting the headlines for seemingly falling asleep on the seat. To this day, though, he insists that wasn’t the case.
“When I was on the seat I shut my eyes for about 30 seconds and they thought I was p*ssed off because I was not playing and they said, ‘OK, this guy is sleeping.’ The president said I need to be careful because there are cameras and photographers everywhere.
“I definitely learned a lot from that experience.”